Tellart, Visionaire (sponsored by Cadillac)

Autoportrait, an assembly robot that draws

Quickly develop a software system which could program an industrial robot to appear organically alive while drawing likenesses of exhibit visitors.

Solutions & Expertise
Generation of and transpilation between hardware control languages (GCode and ABB RAPID). Tools used were Python, OpenCV, and ABB RobotStudio.

Tellart Autoportrait project page
Press Release

Credits: All images courtesy of Visionaire and Tellart

ADA0002 is a combination of art and technology that interacts with the public to display that the parts of this intersection aren’t mutually exclusive.

LeafLabs had the pleasure of working with Tellart and Visionaire (sponsored by Cadillac) to create the interactive art exhibition,  Autoportrait, which featured an assembly robot, ADA0002, drawing portraits of gallery patrons.

Before ADA0002 was employed as an automated portraitist, its existence was decidedly less colorful as an arc welding robot, until rescued from a factory in Wisconsin. ADA0002’s hardware is a 6-axis industrial robot, the ABB IRB 1440. The tools created for programming robots of this size and power are tailored to assist in developing highly repetitive, very precise, and carefully constrained assembly line workflows. With this in mind, it is no easy task for a designer to make the robot implement small, quick, organic variations, for the high-level goal of looking at a person and drawing that person’s face.

Unlike the previous robots the clients had built, the ABB IRB 1440 presented a fairly limited real-time IO interface. The S4C+ controller that the robot is designed to work with can only accept programs that describe complete tasks, and it can’t help the robot modify its behavior in real-time based on data like the subject’s facial shape, the portrait paper positioning on the table, etc. This made the task of interfacing the robot’s web camera eyepiece, with the rest of its hardware, more challenging. It also made the task of enabling the robot to present organic and personality-rich behaviors, during its acts of creation, particularly nuanced.